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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 18, 2015 09:52 AM
From: Representative John Taylor
To: All House members
Subject: Eminent Domain Law changes
During the week of June 22, I plan to introduce legislation to put the Eminent Domain Code (Title 26) in sync with revisions to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act as amended by Congress in MAP-21.

Specifically, Sections 902, 903 and 904 of the Eminent Domain Code must be revised to conform to the Uniform Act requirements as follows:

1. The maximum reestablishment expenses reimbursable for a displaced farm, non-profit organization or small business must be increased from $12,000 to $25,000. 26 Pa.C.S. §902(b)(4).

2. The length of occupancy requirement for homeowners to be eligible for a housing supplement rather than just a tenant supplement must be reduced from 180 to 90 days in occupancy before the initiation of negotiations. 26 Pa.C.S. §903(a)(1).

3. The maximum amount of the replacement housing supplement for homeowners must be increased from $27,000 to $31,000. 26 Pa.C.S. §903(a)(1).

4. The maximum amount of the replacement housing supplement for tenants and others must be increased from $6,300 to $7,200. 26 Pa.C.S. §904(a)(1).

These amendments are required to continue receiving federal funding on projects requiring the acquisition of a property interest. The Federal Highway Administration may implement the following sanctions if a state violates or fails to comply with the Uniform Act provisions: withhold payment of federal funds for the project in which the non-compliance occurred; withhold approval of further projects in the state; and take such other action it deems appropriate under the circumstances, until compliance or remedial action has been accomplished by the state.

In 2013 and 2014, PennDOT awarded construction contracts with federal funds of $1.589 billion and $1.585 billion, respectively. The anticipated awards for 2015 are projected to be $1.581 billion. As noted, all future federal highway funding is at potential risk.

Since 1971 the General Assembly has applied the same relocation damages and benefits to all public acquisitions in Pennsylvania, not just those funded with federal dollars. This is in recognition that a double standard – one for federal funds and one for state funds – would not be desirable.

The amendments were to be in place effective October 1, 2014. Department administrators and their advisors, however, were unaware that amendments to the Eminent Domain Code were required to legitimize the increased payments and change of eligibility for a housing supplement.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1411